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Gluten Containing Herbs – for Celiac Disease patients

Categories: Articles, Celiac Disease, Food Education, Food Safety, Inflammation, Nutritional Information, Western Medicine

From:  http://www.jadeinstitute.com/chinese-herbs-and-potential-allergens.php

Chinese Herbs Containing Gluten and Potential Allergens

Although not frequently noted in the Chinese materia medica, there are a few herbs containing gluten that may be problematic for patients with food sensitivities, and especially for those with celiac sprue (also called gluten sensitive enteropathy or GSE). People with soy or nut allergies may also be advised to avoid certain herbs. As herbalists, our recommendations are often dependent on the degree to which an individual patient seeks to avoid exposure to a certain food.

Gluten and Celiac Disease

Gluten is a family of proteins present in wheat and some other grains. Glutelins and prolamins are the 2 primary types of gluten proteins causing the immunologic reaction in celiac sprue that inflames and destroys the inner lining of the small intestine. The particular prolamin protein found in wheat is called gliadin. In idiopathic gluten sensitivity (IGS) it is typical to see the presence of anti-gliadin antibodies.

Proteins, including gliadin, are long chains of up to several hundred amino acids attached to each other. Normally during digestion, enzymes in the small intestine break the proteins into smaller chains and single amino acids. The intestines are only able to absorb single, or at most, chains of 3-4 of these acids.

In celiac sprue, the longer amino acid chains making up gliadin are not completely broken by intestinal enzymes, so that several longer chains remain intact. These long chains enter the cells of the intestinal lining where they attach to an enzyme called tissue transglutaminase. In individuals with celiac disease, the complex of longer chain amino acids and tissue tranglutaminase sets off an immune reaction resulting in inflammation and damage to the intestinal villi.

Because the intestinal villi excrete digestive enzymes and play a major role in the absorption of nutrients, this condition generally results in varying degrees of maldigestion and malabsorbtion. Symptoms can range from fatigue, digestive problems, and nutritional deficiencies, to more severe problems affecting the bones, teeth, skin, nervous system, and heart.

Wheat, Barley, Rye (Corn and Oats)

Wheat is by far the largest source of gluten proteins, while smaller but significant amounts are found in rye and barley. In oats, the gluten proteins cause only very weak inflammation. It is estimated that 2% of those diagnosed with celiac disease are reactive to the proteins in pure oat cultivars and they seem to be problematic primarily for those with severe celiac. In general, corn and oats are thought to be safe for most people with gluten intolerance.

The severity of gluten sensitivity varies considerably therefore some can tolerate more gluten exposure than others. There is also variability according to the age the condition is diagnosed and treated. When celiac is diagnosed in a relatively young person, a gluten free or nearly gluten free diet can often result in complete recovery, while if someone has had the disease for decades then begins to reduce their gluten intake, the extent of recovery of the intestinal lining may be limited.

Other Allergenic Foods

There are other allergies that may involve a different physiologic response than occurs with celiac sprue, including reactions to proteins in fish, shellfish, peanuts, tree nuts, and milk. These food allergies typically do not cause damage to the intestinal villi, but instead cause skin rashes or, in severe cases, anaphylaxis. These reactions are not necessarily dose dependent in the manner that occurs with a toxic response. For those with a severe allergy, symptoms can be triggered by even very small exposures.

Chinese Herbs as Potential Allergens

Wheat
Fu Xiao Mai (Floating wheat) or Triticum aestivum, is the dry shriveled wheat grain that floats in water. It comes from a particular variety of wheat plant that is relatively low in gluten compared to the grain used for making wheat bread, though it is still may be of concern to people with moderate to severe celiac sprue.

As a medicinal, Fu Xiao Mai is primarily used to nourish the Heart qi and to stop sweating from qi or yin deficiency. Probably the most commonly used formula containing this herb is Gan Mai Da Zao Tang, a famous prescription from the Jin Gui Yao Lue. In the formula, Gan Cao (Licorice), Fu Xiao Mai (Floating wheat), and Da Zao (Chinese date) are used together to nourish and calm the Heart while tonifying the Spleen and Stomach. It is very effective in the treatment of disorientation, anxiety, crying spells and agitation due to dysfunction of the Heart, Spleen and Liver.

Shen Qu, (Massa fermentata), commonly known as “medicated leaven†is a fermented mixture of several Chinese herbs, wheat flour and bran. The fermentation process involves growing yeast on the grain substrate. Wheat is the traditional ingredient, but sprouted barley may be used. In either case, about 38% of the starting material is the grain.

The herbs used in the mixture are not standardized but commonly include those that regulate the qi, transform phlegm and promote digestion such as Xing Ren (Apricot kernal), Qing Hao (Artemesia), Cang Er Cao (Xanthium herb), and Chi Xiao Dou (Aduki bean). Shen Qu is used to harmonize the stomach and reduce food stagnation, especially where there is poor digestion of starches. Bao He Wan is a well-known formula containing Shen Qu and other herbs to treat “stuck food” causing indigestion, abdominal distention, bloating, gas, and diarrhea or constipation.

Barley
Mai Ya (Sprouted barley or malt) begins with the barley grain Hordeum vulgaris. It is sprouted for about a week until about 6-9 mm long, then is dried in the sun. It is primarily used to reduce food stagnation and promote digestion, especially of starches and milk. It also promotes the movement of Liver qi in cases of abdominal distention and fullness, and when prescribed in quite large dosages it can help reduce lactation in breastfeeding mothers who are weaning their babies. Mai Ya is included in several digestive formulations including Jian Pi Wan and Bao He Wan.

Yi Tang (Barley malt sugar or maltose) is made by cooking barley malt with glutinous rice flour, non-glutinous rice flour, or wheat flour. It is sweet and tonifies deficiency, particularly of the Spleen and Stomach. It also generates fluids and moistens the Lungs in cases of dry non-productive cough. Though not a frequently used herb, it is traditionally found in the formula Xiao Jian Zhong Tang.

Yi Yi Ren (Coix), sometimes called “pearl barley”, is different from the barley grain that contains the gluten-like proteins problematic for those with celiac sprue. Yi Yi Ren is not believed to be allergenic.

Soy
Dan Dou Chi (Prepared soybean) is not a standardized preparation. Depending on the region, decoctions of different herbs are used to steam black soybeans until they are soft, then the mixture of bean and herb dregs is fermented and dried. The herbs used in this process are generally exterior-releasing medicinals such as Qing Hao, Sang Ye, Pei Lan, Zi Su Ye, and Huo Xiang. Dan Dou Chi gently releases the exterior in both hot or cold external disorders, and reduces irritability in cases of residual heat following a febrile disorder. It is an ingredient in Cong Chi Tang and Yin Qiao San.

He Shou Wu (Polygonum multiflorum) is a prepared herb, and the form typically used in clinical practice and referred to in Chinese medical literature is in fact Zhi He Shou Wu (“zhi” indicating “processed”). It is prepared with yellow rice wine and black soybean (Glycine max) juice made by boiling black soybeans for several hours. The herb is steamed with this wine-soybean juice mixture until the liquid is completely absorbed by the Polygonum roots. He Shou Wu is a commonly used herb that nourishes Liver blood and tonifies Kidney essence. It is an ingredient in Qi Bao Mei Ran Dan and Dang Gui Yin Zi, and is often prescribed alone in Shou Wu Pian.

Sheng He Shou Wu is the unprepared Polygonum root. It is not widely used and has a very different function from the prepared version as it is not a tonic herb at all, but moistens the intestines, relieves fire toxin, and cools the blood.

E Jiao (Donkey-hide glue) is processed by washing, soaking and boiling donkey hide in water until it is very thick, then adding rock sugar, yellow rice wine, and soybean or peanut oil, to create the consistency of a thick glue. E Jiao is a very effective medicinal that moistens yin, replenishes essence, and stops bleeding. The amount of soy oil contained in the herb is quite small, and in a formula of multiple herbs, the amount becomes almost insignificant. But for those needing to practice strict avoidance, care should be taken with formulas containing E Jiao such as Jiao Ai Tang, Zhi Gan Cao Tang, Shou Tai Wan, Jiang Ya Pian, and Fu Ke Zhong Zi Wan.

Lu Jiao Jiao (Deer antler glue) is processed by a long series of steps involving soaking, cleaning, and boiling antler, best prepared in the cold weather of the winter season. Yellow rice wine, along with soy or peanut oil, is added near the end of the process. Lu Jiao Jiao nourishes blood and essence and can stop bleeding. The amount of soy oil in the finished product is quite small, but those concerned with strict avoidance of soy should use care with formulas containing Lu Jiao Jiao such as Wu Qi Bai Feng Wan, Zuo Gui Wan, and You Gui Wan

Tree Nuts
Bai Guo (Ginkgo nut) is toxic as a raw or toasted kernel, but heating greatly reduces the toxicity. When taken as a decoction it is not considered toxic, but allergic reactions have been reported. Bai Guo is astringent and used most commonly in cases of wheezing and cough, and also astringes in problems of excessive vaginal discharge or turbid urine.

He Tao Ren or Hu Tao Ren (Walnut) tonifies the kidneys, warms the Lungs and moistens the intestines to unblock the bowels. It is not a common ingredient in traditional formulas, but may be found in some patent medicines such as Bu Nao Pian and Hai Ma Wan.

Song Zi Ren (Pine nut) is not commonly used in Chinese herbal medicine but can be found in some patent medicine versions of Wu Ren Tang, a formula that moistens and unblocks the bowels. The medicinal attributes of Song Zi Ren are to tonify the qi, dispel wind, and moisten the intestines.

Xing Ren (Apricot kernel) is a fruit pit, not a nut, but believed to be from a species of tree that could potentially trigger a reaction in those with nut allergies. It commonly included in respiratory formulas for cough and wheezing and also serves to moistens the intestines and unblock the bowels. When avoiding Xing Ren, it should be noted that Shen Qu (Massa fermentata) often contains this herb.

Tao Ren (Peach kernel) is a fruit pit, not a nut, but believed to be from a species of tree that could potentially trigger a reaction in those with nut allergies. It is a very commonly used herb, strongly dispersing blood stasis in a wide variety of disorders. Like most nuts and seeds, it also moistens the intestines to unblock the bowels.

Overview of Possible Food Allergens in Chinese Herbs

Wheat gluten
Fu Xiao Mai (Floating wheat)
Shen Qu (Massa fermentata)

Barley
Mai Ya (Sprouted barley)
Yi Tang (barley malt sugar)

Soybean
Dan Dou Chi (Prepared soybean)

Processed with soybean or soy oil
E Jiao (Donkey-hide glue)
Lu Jiao Jiao (Deer antler glue)
He Shou Wu (Polygonum multiflorum)

Tree Nuts
Bai Guo (Gingko nut)
He Tao Ren (Walnut)
Song Zi Ren (Pine nut)

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Seeds or kernels believed to be from species of trees that could potentially trigger a reaction in those with nut allergies
Xing Ren (Apricot kernel)
Shen Qu (Massa fermentata) commonly contains Xing Ren (Apricot kernel)
Tao Ren (Peach kernel)

Article References:

Bensky, Dan, Clavey, Steven, Stoger, Erich, Chinese Herbal Medicine Formulas and Strategies 3rd edition, Eastland Press 2004

Dharmanada, Sabuti Ph.D. Institute for Traditional Medicine, Gluten in Chinese Herbs Addressing the Concerns of those with Celiac Sprue, ITM Online

Fratkin, Jake Paul, Chinese Herbal Patent Medicines: A Clinical Desk Reference, Shya Publications 2001

Hsu, Hong-yen, Oriental Materia Medicia: A Concise Guide, Oriental Healing Arts Institute 1986

Mayway Mailer, Vol. 7-2 Fall 2006, Mayway Corporation, Oakland, California

_________________________

From: http://www.acupuncturebrooklyn.com/how-tos/foods-and-herbs-to-avoid-with-gluten-sensitivity-by-karen-vaugha

People with full blown celiac or lower level gluten sensitivity usually need to avoid gluten products indefinitely as they are more persistent than other allergens.  The main cause of gluten sensitivity as described by the researchers is a cell-mediated, immunological reaction to certain components of certain dietary glutens. Most of these abnormal responses are proteins contained in wheat, rye and barley. Previously oats were also considered to be a trigger but recent studies suggest that 95% of celiacs can tolerate the specific oat glianden so long as the oats are processed where they cannot be contaminated.  Corn, rice, buckwheat; millet; amaranth; and quinoa are safe for celiac disease patients. These commodities contain different type of gluten which does not appear to trigger celiac disease directly.The following list shows examples of many foods that are allowed or avoided, but it is not a complete list. It is important to read all food ingredient lists carefully to make sure that the food does not contain gluten.Beverages
Allowed: Coffee, tea, carbonated drinks, wine made in U.S., rum, some root beer.
Avoid: Ovaltine, malted milk, ale, beer, gin, whiskey, flavored coffee,  herbal tea with malted barley.

Milk
Allowed: Fresh, dry, evaporated, or condensed milk; cream; sour cream; whipping cream; yogurt.
Avoid: Malted milk, some commercial chocolate milk, some nondairy creamers.

Meat, Fish, Poultry
Allowed: Fresh meats, fish, other seafood, and poultry; fish in canned oil, brine, or water; some hot dogs and lunch meats.
Avoid: Prepared meat (especially sausage and coated meats) containing wheat, rye, oats, or barley; tuna canned in vegetable broth.

Cheese
Allowed: All aged cheese, such as cheddar, Swiss, edam, parmesan; cottage cheese; cream cheese; pasteurized processed cheese; cheese spreads.
Avoid: Any cheese product containing oat gum if oat sensitive, some veined cheeses (bleu, stilton, roquefort, gorgonzola).

Potato or Other Starch
Allowed: White and sweet potatoes, yams, hominy, rice, wild rice, gluten-free noodles, some oriental rice and bean thread noodles.
Avoid: Regular noodles, spaghetti, macaroni, most packaged rice mixes, seminola, spinach noodles, frozen potato products with wheat flour added.

Cereals
Allowed: Hot cereals made from cornmeal or other corn-based cereal, Cream of Rice, hominy, rice; Puffed Rice, cereals made without malt.
Avoid: All cereals containing wheat, rye, oats, or barley; bran; graham; wheat germ; durum;  bulgar;

Breads
Allowed: Specially prepared breads using only allowed flours.
Avoid: All breads containing wheat, rye, oat, or barley flours and grains listed above.

Flours and Thickening Agents
Allowed: Arrowroot starch, corn bran, corn flour, corn germ, cornmeal, corn starch, potato flour, potato starch flour, rice bran, rice flour, rice polish, rice starch, soy flour, tapioca starch, bean and lentil flours, nut flours.
Avoid: wheat germ, bran, wheat starch; all flours containing wheat, rye, oats, or barley; spelt; or any grains or cereals listed earlier.

Vegetables
Allowed: All plain, fresh, frozen, or canned vegetables; dried peas and beans; lentils; some commercially prepared vegetables.
Avoid: Creamed vegetables, vegetables canned in sauce, some canned baked beans, commercially prepared vegetables and salads.

Fruits
Allowed: All fresh, frozen, canned, or dried fruits; all fruit juices; some canned pie fillings.
Avoid: Thickened or prepared fruits; some pie fillings; raisins and dried dates that have been dusted with flour.

Fats
Allowed: Butter, ghee, vegetable oil, nuts, peanut butter, hydrogenated vegetable oils (not desirable), some salad dressings, mayonnaise, nonstick cooking sprays.
Avoid: Some commercial salad dressings, wheat germ oil, nondairy cream substitutes, most commercial gravies and sauces.

Soups
Allowed: Homemade broth and soups made with allowed ingredients, some commercially canned soups, specialty dry soup mixes.
Avoid: Most canned soups and soup mixes, bouillon and bouillon cubes with hydrolyzed vegetable protein unless labeled “gluten freeâ€.
Desserts
Allowed: Cakes, quick breads, pastries, and puddings made with allowed ingredients; cornstarch, tapioca, and rice puddings; some pudding mixes; custard; ice cream with few, simple ingredients; sorbet; meringues; mousse; sherbets; frozen yogurt.
Avoid: Commercial cakes, cookies; pies made with wheat, rye, oats, or barley; prepared mixes; puddings; ice cream cones; Jell-O instant pudding; cream fillings; products made with brown rice syrup or malt.  Even organic chocolate bars may be sweetened with malt.

Sweetners
Allowed: Jelly, jam, honey, brown and white sugar, molasses, most syrups, some candy, chocolate, pure cocoa, coconut, marshmallows.
Avoid: Commercial candies dusted with wheat flour, butterscotch chips; flavored syrups; sweets containing malt/malt flavorings; some brown rice syrup; some corn syrup.

Miscellaneous
Allowed: Salt, pepper, herb, herb extracts, food coloring, cloves, allspice, ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon, chili powder, tomato puree and paste, olives, active dry yeast, bicarbonate of soda, baking powder, cream of tartar, dry mustard, some condiments, apple cider, rice or wine vinegar.
Avoid: Curry powder, dry seasonings mixes, gravy extracts, meat sauces, catsup, mustard, horseradish, chip dips, most soy sauce, some distilled white vinegar, instant dry baking yeast, some cinnamon, condiments made with wheat-derived distilled vinegars, communion wafers/bread, some alcohol-based flavoring extracts.

Herbs or supplements that may contain gluten:

Many greens drinks.

Oat straw, milky oats may contain gluten but may not be irritating.

Emergen-C in raspberry and mixed berry flavors only, the other flavors are fine.

Several Chinese herbs are derived from species of wheat and barley and others are traditionally processed using products made from wheat or barley. For example, E jiao and Lu jiao jiao are processed with barley wine, Mai ya is barley sprout and Yi Tang is barley sugar. Fu xiao mai is a type of wheat, and Shen qu, known as “medicated leavenâ€, is processed with wheat or barley. Other herbs are E. jiao/Equus asinus gelatin, Lu jiao jiao/Cervus nippon antler, Mai ya/Hordeum vulga,Yi tang/Maltose, Fu xiao mai/ Triticum aestivum, Shen qu/Massa fermenta

The following raw herbs and raw herb powders are processed with barley wine and also may contain gluten: Shu di huang/Rehmannia glutinosa root — prepared, Huang jing/Polygonatum sibiricum rhizome, Chuan xiong/Ligusticum chuanxiong (wallichii) rhizome, Rou cong rong/Cistanche deserticola herb, Gui ban jiao/Chinemys reevesii shell — gelatin.

Chinese herbal formulas that contain gluten:

An Mien Pian, An Shui Teapills/An Shui Wan, Bao He San, Bao He Wan, Bojenmi Tea, Bojenmi Teabags, Butiao Tablets/Bu Xue Tiao Jing Wan, Calm Spirit Teapills/ Gan Mai Da Zao Wan, Curing Pills/Kang Ning Wan, Fu Ke Zhong Zi Wan, Gan Mai Da Zao San, Jian Pi Wan, Jiang Ya Pian, Jiao Ai San, Minor Restore The Middle/Xiao Jian Zhong Wan , Qing Zao Jiu Fei San, Rhubarb Teapills/Da Huang Jiang Zhi Wan, Wuchi Paifeng Wan/ Wu Qi Bai Feng Wan, Yang Rong Wan, Yue Ju San, Zhen Gan Xi Feng Teapills, Zi Sheng Wan, Zhi Gan Cao Tang Teapills, Zuo Gu Shen Jing San,

Thanks to Mayway Herbs and Bob Linde

Â

People with full blown celiac or lower level gluten sensitivity usually need to avoid gluten products indefinitely as they are more persistent than other allergens.  The main cause of gluten sensitivity as described by the researchers is a cell-mediated, immunological reaction to certain components of certain dietary glutens. Most of these abnormal responses are proteins contained in wheat, rye and barley. Previously oats were also considered to be a trigger but recent studies suggest that 95% of celiacs can tolerate the specific oat glianden so long as the oats are processed where they cannot be contaminated.  Corn, rice, buckwheat; millet; amaranth; and quinoa are safe for celiac disease patients. These commodities contain different type of gluten which does not appear to trigger celiac disease directly.

The following list shows examples of many foods that are allowed or avoided, but it is not a complete list. It is important to read all food ingredient lists carefully to make sure that the food does not contain gluten.

Beverages
Allowed: Coffee, tea, carbonated drinks, wine made in U.S., rum, some root beer.
Avoid: Ovaltine, malted milk, ale, beer, gin, whiskey, flavored coffee,  herbal tea with malted barley.

Milk
Allowed: Fresh, dry, evaporated, or condensed milk; cream; sour cream; whipping cream; yogurt.
Avoid: Malted milk, some commercial chocolate milk, some nondairy creamers.

Meat, Fish, Poultry
Allowed: Fresh meats, fish, other seafood, and poultry; fish in canned oil, brine, or water; some hot dogs and lunch meats.
Avoid: Prepared meat (especially sausage and coated meats) containing wheat, rye, oats, or barley; tuna canned in vegetable broth.

Cheese
Allowed: All aged cheese, such as cheddar, Swiss, edam, parmesan; cottage cheese; cream cheese; pasteurized processed cheese; cheese spreads.
Avoid: Any cheese product containing oat gum if oat sensitive, some veined cheeses (bleu, stilton, roquefort, gorgonzola).

Potato or Other Starch
Allowed: White and sweet potatoes, yams, hominy, rice, wild rice, gluten-free noodles, some oriental rice and bean thread noodles.
Avoid: Regular noodles, spaghetti, macaroni, most packaged rice mixes, seminola, spinach noodles, frozen potato products with wheat flour added.

Cereals
Allowed: Hot cereals made from cornmeal or other corn-based cereal, Cream of Rice, hominy, rice; Puffed Rice, cereals made without malt.
Avoid: All cereals containing wheat, rye, oats, or barley; bran; graham; wheat germ; durum;  bulgar;

Breads
Allowed: Specially prepared breads using only allowed flours.
Avoid: All breads containing wheat, rye, oat, or barley flours and grains listed above.

Flours and Thickening Agents
Allowed: Arrowroot starch, corn bran, corn flour, corn germ, cornmeal, corn starch, potato flour, potato starch flour, rice bran, rice flour, rice polish, rice starch, soy flour, tapioca starch, bean and lentil flours, nut flours.
Avoid: wheat germ, bran, wheat starch; all flours containing wheat, rye, oats, or barley; spelt; or any grains or cereals listed earlier.

Vegetables
Allowed: All plain, fresh, frozen, or canned vegetables; dried peas and beans; lentils; some commercially prepared vegetables.
Avoid: Creamed vegetables, vegetables canned in sauce, some canned baked beans, commercially prepared vegetables and salads.

Fruits
Allowed: All fresh, frozen, canned, or dried fruits; all fruit juices; some canned pie fillings.
Avoid: Thickened or prepared fruits; some pie fillings; raisins and dried dates that have been dusted with flour.

Fats
Allowed: Butter, ghee, vegetable oil, nuts, peanut butter, hydrogenated vegetable oils (not desirable), some salad dressings, mayonnaise, nonstick cooking sprays.
Avoid: Some commercial salad dressings, wheat germ oil, nondairy cream substitutes, most commercial gravies and sauces.

Soups
Allowed: Homemade broth and soups made with allowed ingredients, some commercially canned soups, specialty dry soup mixes.
Avoid: Most canned soups and soup mixes, bouillon and bouillon cubes with hydrolyzed vegetable protein unless labeled “gluten freeâ€.
Desserts
Allowed: Cakes, quick breads, pastries, and puddings made with allowed ingredients; cornstarch, tapioca, and rice puddings; some pudding mixes; custard; ice cream with few, simple ingredients; sorbet; meringues; mousse; sherbets; frozen yogurt.
Avoid: Commercial cakes, cookies; pies made with wheat, rye, oats, or barley; prepared mixes; puddings; ice cream cones; Jell-O instant pudding; cream fillings; products made with brown rice syrup or malt.  Even organic chocolate bars may be sweetened with malt.

Sweetners
Allowed: Jelly, jam, honey, brown and white sugar, molasses, most syrups, some candy, chocolate, pure cocoa, coconut, marshmallows.
Avoid: Commercial candies dusted with wheat flour, butterscotch chips; flavored syrups; sweets containing malt/malt flavorings; some brown rice syrup; some corn syrup.

Miscellaneous
Allowed: Salt, pepper, herb, herb extracts, food coloring, cloves, allspice, ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon, chili powder, tomato puree and paste, olives, active dry yeast, bicarbonate of soda, baking powder, cream of tartar, dry mustard, some condiments, apple cider, rice or wine vinegar.
Avoid: Curry powder, dry seasonings mixes, gravy extracts, meat sauces, catsup, mustard, horseradish, chip dips, most soy sauce, some distilled white vinegar, instant dry baking yeast, some cinnamon, condiments made with wheat-derived distilled vinegars, communion wafers/bread, some alcohol-based flavoring extracts.

Herbs or supplements that may contain gluten:

Many greens drinks.

Oat straw, milky oats may contain gluten but may not be irritating.

Emergen-C in raspberry and mixed berry flavors only, the other flavors are fine.

Several Chinese herbs are derived from species of wheat and barley and others are traditionally processed using products made from wheat or barley. For example, E jiao and Lu jiao jiao are processed with barley wine, Mai ya is barley sprout and Yi Tang is barley sugar. Fu xiao mai is a type of wheat, and Shen qu, known as “medicated leavenâ€, is processed with wheat or barley. Other herbs are E. jiao/Equus asinus gelatin, Lu jiao jiao/Cervus nippon antler, Mai ya/Hordeum vulga,Yi tang/Maltose, Fu xiao mai/ Triticum aestivum, Shen qu/Massa fermenta

The following raw herbs and raw herb powders are processed with barley wine and also may contain gluten: Shu di huang/Rehmannia glutinosa root — prepared, Huang jing/Polygonatum sibiricum rhizome, Chuan xiong/Ligusticum chuanxiong (wallichii) rhizome, Rou cong rong/Cistanche deserticola herb, Gui ban jiao/Chinemys reevesii shell — gelatin.

Chinese herbal formulas that contain gluten:

An Mien Pian, An Shui Teapills/An Shui Wan, Bao He San, Bao He Wan, Bojenmi Tea, Bojenmi Teabags, Butiao Tablets/Bu Xue Tiao Jing Wan, Calm Spirit Teapills/ Gan Mai Da Zao Wan, Curing Pills/Kang Ning Wan, Fu Ke Zhong Zi Wan, Gan Mai Da Zao San, Jian Pi Wan, Jiang Ya Pian, Jiao Ai San, Minor Restore The Middle/Xiao Jian Zhong Wan , Qing Zao Jiu Fei San, Rhubarb Teapills/Da Huang Jiang Zhi Wan, Wuchi Paifeng Wan/ Wu Qi Bai Feng Wan, Yang Rong Wan, Yue Ju San, Zhen Gan Xi Feng Teapills, Zi Sheng Wan, Zhi Gan Cao Tang Teapills, Zuo Gu Shen Jing San,

Thanks to Mayway Herbs and Bob Linde

_______________________

From Golden Flower:

Allergen Warning:
The following products contain gluten
Gluten is a protein found in grains, especially wheat, but also in barley and other grains.
Several Chinese herbs are derived from species of wheat and barley and others are
traditionally processed using products made from wheat or barley. For example, E jiao
and Lu jiao jiao are processed with barley wine, Mai ya is barley sprout and Yi Tang is
barley sugar. Fu xiao mai is a type of wheat, and Shen qu, known as “medicated leavenâ€,
is processed with wheat. Individuals with celiac disease, wheat allergies or gluten
sensitivity should use caution with the following products to avoid food sensitivities or
allergic reactions.
3919 An Mien Pian contains Shen qu/ Massa fermenta
3380 An Shui Teapills/An Shui Wan contains Fu xiao mai/ Triticum aestivum
3646C Bao He San, concentrated extract powder contains Mai ya/Hordeum vulgare/Shen qu/ Massa fermenta
3646 Bao He Wan contains Mai ya/Hordeum vulgare/Shen qu/ Massa fermenta
117CN Bojenmi Tea contains Mai ya/Hordeum vulgare/Shen qu/ Massa fermenta
117 Bojenmi Teabags contains Mai ya/Hordeum vulgare/Shen qu/ Massa fermenta
3797 Butiao Tablets/Bu Xue Tiao Jing Wan contains E jiao/ Equus asinus gelatin
3383/3383E Calm Spirit Teapills/ Gan Mai Da Zao Wan contains Fu xiao mai/ Triticum aestivum
3966 Curing Pills/Kang Ning Wan contains Shen qu/ Massa fermenta
3966E Curing Pills/Kang Ning Wan – economy size contains Shen qu/ Massa fermenta
3966i Curing Pills/Kang Ning Wan – pocket pack contains Shen qu/ Massa fermenta
3966C Curing San, concentrated extract powder contains Shen qu/ Massa fermenta
3654 Fu Ke Zhong Zi Wan contains E jiao/ Equus asinus gelatin
3383C Gan Mai Da Zao San, concentrated extract powder contains Fu xiao mai/ Triticum aestivum
3638 Jian Pi Wan contains Mai ya/Hordeum vulgare
3918 Jiang Ya Pian contains E jiao/ Equus asinus gelatin
3340C Jiao Ai San, concentrated extract powder contains E jiao/ Equus asinus gelatin
3739 Minor Restore The Middle/Xiao Jian Zhong Wan contains Yi tang/Maltose
3342C Qing Zao Jiu Fei San, concentrated extract powder contains E jiao/ Equus asinus gelatin
3188 Rhubarb Teapills/Da Huang Jiang Zhi Wan contains Mai ya/Hordeum vulgare sprout
3781 Wuchi Paifeng Wan/ Wu Qi Bai Feng Wan contains Lu jiao jiao/ Cervus nippon antler
3656 Yang Rong Wan contains E jiao/ Equus asinus gelatin
3116C Yue Ju San, concentrated extract powder contains Shen qu/ Massa fermenta
3395 Zhen Gan Xi Feng Teapills contains Mai ya/Hordeum vulgare
3652 Zi Sheng Wan contains Mai ya/Hordeum vulgare sprout/Shen qu/ Massa fermenta
3396 Zhi Gan Cao Tang Teapills contains E jiao/ Equus asinus gelatin
3311C Zuo Gu Shen Jing San, concentrated extract powder contains Lu jiao jiao/ Cervus nippon antler
*The following products also contain gluten: E. jiao/Equus asinus gelatin, Lu jiao jiao/Cervus nippon antler, Mai ya/Hordeum vulga,
Yi tang/Maltose, Fu xiao mai/ Triticum aestivum, Shen qu/Massa fermenta as a single herb extract powder, raw bulk herb, or
raw herb powder.
**The following raw herbs and raw herb powders are processed with barley wine and also contain gluten: Shu di huang/Rehmannia
glutinosa root – prepared, Huang jing/Polygonatum sibiricum rhizome, Chuan xiong/Ligusticum chuanxiong (wallichii) rhizome,
Rou cong rong/Cistanche deserticola herb, Gui ban jiao/Chinemys reevesii shell — gelatin. This also applies to single herb extract
powders of Shu di huang/Rehmannia glutinosa root — prepared and Huang jing/Polygonatum sibiricum rhizome. ***The following raw
herbs and raw herb powders are processed with vinegar made with grain based fermentation agents and may also contain gluten:
Xiang fu/Cyperus rotundus rhizome. This does not apply to any teapills or tablets made with these herbs, as our GMP factories process
these raw herbs with rice wine instead of barley wine.

What Are the Health Benefits of Eating Seaweed?

Categories: Articles, Cooking tips, Nutritional Information, Phlegm Nodules & Interior Heat, Vegan, Vegetables, Vegetarian, Western Medicine

Overview

Sea vegetables, often referred to as seaweed or algae, are not as common in the Western culture as they are in other areas of the world. Sea vegetables come in a variety of colors including green, red and brown, each with a unique flavor, shape and texture. This exclusive family of vegetables absorbs nutrients from the sea and are, therefore, an excellent source of trace elements, vitamins, minerals and protein. Sea vegetables are some of the most nutritious foods you can eat. Proponents claim that sea vegetables can protect against disease including cancer; however, no scientific studies have been done to confirm this.

Dulse

Dulse is a reddish brown sea vegetable with a chewy and slightly salty taste. It is approximately 22 percent protein, offers more than 100 percent of the recommended dietary allowance of vitamin B-6, iron and fluoride in addition to 66 percent of the RDA for vitamin B-12. Dulse is also a rich source of potassium, manganese, iodine, iron, riboflavin, phosphorus, and vitamin A. It offers a variety of trace elements, enzymes and phytochemicals, yet is relatively low in sodium. Dulse is available powdered as a condiment or in whole stringy leaves. One-third cup of dulse contains about 18 calories.

Agar Agar

Sometimes called Japanese gelatin, agar agar is a clear, tasteless alternative to animal or chemical-based gelatin. Derived from red seaweed, agar agar is a natural thickener. You will typically find this sea vegetable used as a gelling agent in desserts, pie fillings, puddings and aspics. Agar agar can also be used to replace eggs and other thickening agents in baking. Rich in iodine, calcium, iron, phosphorus and fiber, agar agar acts as a mild laxative, adding bulk to your diet without the calories. One serving, or 11 g, of agar agar powder has about 40 calories.

Wakame

Wakame, also known as alaria, is a deep grayish green sea vegetable. Rich in dietary fiber, chlorophyll, beta carotene, B vitamins, calcium, iodine, iron, protein, calcium and vitamin C, this is one of the most tender sea vegetables. It has a subtle sweet flavor and slippery texture and is best eaten in soups or salads. Two tablespoons of wakame has about 5 calories Oriental medicine utilized wakame for skin problems, strengthening hair, thyroid disorders, menstrual regularity and blood purifier.

Nori

Nori is 28 percent protein and an excellent source of calcium, manganese, fluoride, iron, copper and zinc. It is the sea vegetable with the highest B vitamins, including B-1, B-2, B-3, B-6 and B-12 as well as vitamins A, C and E. This easily digested, deep purple-green vegetable is sweet in flavor with a slightly nutty taste. Nori is most commonly used as wrappers for sushi rolls. One sheet of nori has approximately 10 calories.

Kombu

Dark purple, kombu is one of the most commonly used and recognized seaweeds. Kombu comes in thick strips or sheets and will add iodine, calcium, magnesium and iron to your diet. It is also a good source of vitamins B, C, D and E, as well as calcium, beta carotene, potassium, silica and zinc. Tough and chewy, kombu contains enzymes that help break down the raffinose sugars in beans, making them more easily digested. One 4-inch piece of kombu has 10 calories.

Overview

A staple of Asian cuisine, sea vegetables are often vastly under-appreciated in the West. Sometimes referred to as seaweed, these vegetables actually include a wide range of different types of algae. Frequently sold dried, most sea vegetables need to be reconstituted before or during cooking. Sea vegetables may also be sold as dietary supplements in powder, tablet or capsule form.

Types

Sea vegetables come in a wide variety of colors, shapes and flavors. The most familiar for most people is nori, the green or dark purple sheets used to wrap some types of sushi rolls. Arame looks like thin black shreds and is cooked in stir fry dishes or used in salads. The brown sea vegetable dulse is frequently served in powdered form as a condiment but its leaves can also be pan-fried. Kombu comes in dark purple sheets that are often added to soups. Sweet and salty sea palm and tender wakame can both be eaten raw or served in salads or cooked dishes.

Nutrients

Sea vegetables are all typically high in iodine, iron, fiber and a wide range of vitamins and minerals. The iodine in sea vegetables is highly concentrated, but may dissipate some when the vegetables are reconstituted in water. The iron in sea vegetables is accompanied by vitamin C, which helps in making iron bioaccessible. Sea vegetables are also a good source of antioxidant micronutrients. In addition, they contain high levels of selenium, manganese, zinc, vitamin C and vitamin E.

Phytochemicals

In addition to the micronutrient antioxidants, sea vegetables also supply phytochemicals with antioxidant properties. Different varieties of sea vegetables contain differing levels of carotenoids and flavonoids. For example, nori contains high levels of beta-carotene, the carotenoid that can be converted into vitamin A and benefits visual health. Sea vegetables also contain alkaloids, compounds with anti-inflammatory properties. Because of the complex interactions between the phytochemicals, vitamins and minerals, sea vegetables are best eaten whole instead of taken in supplement form.

Health Benefits

Proponents of sea vegetables promote their consumption as good for cancer prevention, particularly colon and breast cancer, and healing degenerative diseases. Extracts from sea vegetables have been shown to halt cancer cell growth in the lab, but these results have not yet been replicated in human or animal models. Research on the health effects of sea vegetables have been mostly limited to laboratory studies thus far. Human clinical trials are needed to determine the effects of sea vegetables on diseases such as cancer, diabetes or asthma.

Source of Nutrients

Most seaweeds are high in essential amino acids, which makes them valuable sources of vegetable protein in a vegetarian or mostly meatless diet.

Like most land vegetables, seaweeds contain vitamins A (beta carotene) and C. Seaweeds are rich in potassium, iron, calcium, iodine and magnesium because these minerals are concentrated in sea water. They are also one of the few vegetable sources of vitamin B-12.

Weight Control

Seaweed is a “free food” when it comes to weight control because it provides only 5 to 20 calories in a serving and contains virtually no fat. Its fiber content also contributes to a feeling of satiety, or fullness when eaten in a meal.

Japanese researchers at Hokkaido University have discovered that a substance in brown seaweeds called fucoxanthin helps reduce the accumulation of fat in the body cells of laboratory animals–although there is no evidence that these results carry over to humans.

Salt Substitute

Seaweed granules have been tested in the United Kingdom as a flavor enhancer that could replace sodium in snack foods and other processed food products. Cutting back on salt can reduce the risk of high blood pressure, which reduces the risk of heart attack or stroke.

Blood Sugar Regulation

When eaten as part of a meal, seaweed can help balance blood sugar because its soluble fiber content helps slow the rate at which foods are digested and absorbed into the bloodstream.

Digestive Aid

Agar agar is a gelling agent made from seaweed that’s high in soluble fiber. When used as a laxative, agar agar soaks up water in the intestine and swells up. This creates movement in the bowels that helps with elimination of waste.

Other Possible Benefits

Seaweed extracts have been shown to have an anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory effect on laboratory animals, though this has not been scientifically proven in humans.

1. Sea Vegetable History

People from all over the world have eaten sea vegetables for centuries. In Boston, years ago, dulse, a purple-colored sea vegetable, was available to purchase in the street markets. Russians and Irish have favorite sea vegetable dishes. Nevertheless, nowhere are sea vegetables as popular as they are in Japan. In Japan, an organization grades sea vegetables for quality as the United States Department of Agriculture grades meats. Sea vegetables are an important part of the macrobiotic diet.

2. Most Nutritious of Food Groups

Due to modern farming techniques and poor topsoil quality, vegetables today are not as vitamin-rich and nutritious as they were in times past. Sea vegetables may be one of the only ways to get precious trace minerals such as cobalt, copper, chromium, fluorine, manganese, molybdenum, selenium and zinc back into our diets. These minerals are necessary in small amounts in our bodies. Of all the foods recommended in the macrobiotic diet, sea vegetables are the richest source of minerals.

3. Sea Vegetable Variety in the Macrobiotic Diet

The most popular sea vegetables used in the macrobiotic diet are arame, dulse, hijiki, kelp, kombu, nori, wakame, Irish moss, and agar-agar for thickening. Their benefits are unmatched. For instance, arame is very high in calcium; dulse is 30 times richer in potassium than bananas and has 200 times the potency of beet root in iron; hijiki has 4 times the amount of calcium of whole milk; kelp has 150 times the amount of iodine and 8 times as much magnesium as garden vegetables; kombu equals corn in phosphorus; nori has as much vitamin A as carrots and twice the amount of protein as some meats; wakame is high in calcium and phosphorus also.

4. Alkalize Acid and Remove Radioactive Substance from the Body

Sea vegetables help alkalize the blood to a healthy pH level. Modern diets and junk food make the blood acidic, which over long periods of time leads to acidosis, which means our bodies do not get enough oxygen. This continued process can lead to cellulite in women, skin disorders and overall unhealthiness. Sea vegetables can also reduce excess fat and mucous. Toxic metals in the intestines turn into harmless salts, thanks to the darker sea vegetables. In 1964 at McGill University in Montreal, an experiment showed sea vegetables removed radioactive strontium-90 from the body.

5. Buying Sea Vegetables

Sea vegetables are in all good health food stories. Usually you will not find the full variety of sea vegetables in one store, but bigger stores may carry most of them. If there is a particular variety, you want talk to the section manager about getting it ordered. You can also order online with Japanese and macrobiotic food outlets.

Overview

Some types of ocean plant life are beneficial for human consumption. Seaweed and other types of algae have been eaten for thousands of years. You can buy seaweed in the dried form or as a supplement at most health food stores. Commonly called sea vegetables, seaweed supplements may also go by other names and address a variety of health concerns.

Types of Sea Vegetables

Seaweed, whose varieties include kelp, kombu, bladderwrack, wakami, nori, dulse and algae, grows rapidly in the cool waters of most oceans, especially along the Pacific coast of North America.

Sea Vegetable Claims

According to The American Cancer Society, some proponents of sea vegetables claim they can prevent or treat myriad physical ailments, from cancer to obesity. They claim that these vegetables contain concentrated nutrients not available in land-based foods, as well as some nutrients that are not available to humans elsewhere. Infomercials and other marketing tactics claim seaweed can help control appetite and aid in weight loss.

Benefits

Seaweed contains high amounts of iodine. According to Dr. Donald W. Miller, the recommended dietary intake of 100 mcg to 150 mcg may be about 100 times too low. Iodine is a crucial element of thyroid hormones and is essential to the proper functioning of the thyroid, the gland located at the base of your neck that regulates your metabolism. Miller says that increased amounts of iodine may protect you from breast cancer and can improve your immune function due to its antioxidant properties.

The “Journal of Nutrition” found that several types of marine algae are also high in iron and vitamin C. Sea kelp may be able to help reduce the uptake of dietary fat by more than 75 percent, according to a 2010 article published in “Science News.”

Some sea vegetables contain varying amounts of carotenoids, flavonoids and alkaloids, which may have anti-inflammatory properties.

The USDA recommends you fill half your plate with fruits and vegetables. Eating sea vegetables counts towards your daily intake of fruits and vegetables.

Sea vegetables can also be used as thickeners in some food, ranging from infant formula to ice cream.

Iodine Deficiency

Too little iodine in the diet can contribute to hypothyroidism, goiter and mental retardation. According to the International Council for the Control of Iodine Deficiency Disorders, iodine deficiency is the most preventable cause of mental retardation and brain damage in the world.

Supplements

Common sea vegetable supplements include kelp and red, green or brown algae. Some manufacturers combine kelp with marine algae or other ingredients, such as sodium and iron.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of butter and ghee when it comes to cooking?

Categories: Articles, Cooking tips, Food Education, Western Medicine

From a nutritional standpoint, both butter and ghee are basically made from the fats of whole milk. Although butter in the United States is almost always made from cow’s milk, the ghee used for cooking in India is often made from buffalo milk. Both ghee and butter are usually 80% milk fat or greater in terms of their composition, and about two-thirds of that fat is saturated fat.

How Butter Is Made

Butter is made by separating cream from milk. Since the fat-based cream portion of the milk is lighter than the water and milk solids portion, the cream in fresh milk will eventually rise to the top of the milk over time if the milk is simply left standing. However, a centrifuge that very forcefully spins can be used to speed up this process. (When milk is centrifuged, the lighter cream will stay closer to the center and the heavier water and solid portions will fly to the outside of the centrifuge.) When cream has been separated from milk, it can be churned until it reaches a semi-solid state. That product is what we call butter.

Clarified Butter and Ghee

Clarified butter is butter that has been melted over low heat and allowed to bubble and simmer until most of the water has been evaporated. Clarified butter is also sometimes called drawn butter. Ghee is essentially clarified butter, although traditional ghee-making processes (originating in India, where ghee is very commonly used in cooking) place a focus on exact steps and specific qualities of the clarified butter. The cooking process is usually extended for a longer period of time with ghee, eliminating more of the moisture and also causing the milk solids to caramelize for eventual removal from the ghee through strainers. The highest-quality ghee is obtained when the long-simmered butter is allowed to cool and only the top-most layer is skimmed off. (That layer becomes the ghee that is considered top-quality and used in cooking.)

Health Consequences of Ghee and Butter

Research on ghee and health is limited, but fairly consistent. When ghee is consumed at levels above 10% total calories, it can increase risk of cardiovascular disease. (For a person consuming 1,800 calories per day, 10% of those calories would be 180 calories, or about 20 grams of fat, which equals approximately 2 tablespoons of ghee.) At levels under 10% of total calories, however, ghee appears to help lower cardiovascular risks, especially when other fats consumed during the day are exclusively from plants or plant oils.

Butter, like ghee, can increase risk of cardiovascular disease when consumed in excessive amounts. One research study has shown that 3 tablespoons of butter per day over 4 weeks can increase total cholesterol and LDL-cholesterol. For this reason, if you are going to cook with butter, you will want to keep the amount at a moderate level of no more than 1-2 tablespoons.

The benefits of butter at moderate levels do not yet have the same level of research backing as ghee. However, there is increasing research interest in butter as having some unique potential benefits of its own, particularly in relationship to its vitamin K and vitamin D content. This content may vary, however, depending on the diet and living circumstances of the dairy cow. (We look forward to new research in this area, especially with respect to vitamin K2.)

Types of Fats in Ghee and Butter

When comparing ghee to butter in terms of health, one reason for the more favorable past research record of ghee versus butter might be the increased amount of medium- and short-chain fatty acids in ghee. Butter contains about 12-15% of these medium-chain and short-chain fats, whereas ghee contains about 25%. (Our bodies metabolize medium-chain and short-chain fats differently than long-chain ones, and medium- and short-chain ones are not associated with cardiovascular problems in the same way as the long-chain ones are.)

Ghee Has a Higher Smoke Point than Butter

Ghee tends to have a higher smoke point than butter. For butter, smoke point is typically reached between 325-375 F (163-191 C). Some clarified butters also fall into this general range, but ghee usually has a higher smoke point, between 400-500 F (204-260 C). This higher smoke point can be an advantage when cooking at high heat since smoke point is that moment when heat damage to some of the components in a fat or oil is sufficient to become visible in the form of smoke. When it comes to our health, heating above smoke point is not a good idea with any oil or fat.

Cooking Recommendations

For persons choosing to cook in fat at higher heats in the 400-500 F (204-260 C) range, ghee makes sense to us, provided that it’s used in moderation (no more than 1-2 tablespoons per day). Even for a person deciding to cook in fat, however, the use of butter at higher heats does not make sense to us due to its lower smoke point (325-375 F/163-191 C).

The use of butter and ghee at lower heats (300-375 F/163-191 C) may be acceptable, provided once again that both of these animal fats are used in moderation. Whether there are distinct advantages to the use of butter at lower heats versus plant oils is not clear to us from the existing research. In general, however, we do not like the idea of heating plant oils due to the delicate nature of their polyunsaturated fats and phytonutrients. Since butter has far fewer polyunsaturates than plant oils, it might provide a lower heat cooking alternative for this reason. However, the phytonutrient and vitamin content of butter would still be susceptible to heat damage, and since we have not yet seen research to confirm the health benefits of butter in lower heat cooking, we cannot recommend this practice without the benefit of more research. On our website, we offer a method of healthy sauteing that requires no fat or oil of any kind. You can visit the Cooking Healthy section of our website to learn more about this method.

References

  • Gupta R, Prakash H. Association of dietary ghee intake with coronary heart disease and risk factor prevalence in rural males. J Indian Med Assoc 1997;95(3):67-9, 83. 1997.
  • Kumar MV, Sambaiah K, Lokesh BR. Effect of dietary ghee–the anhydrous milk fat, on blood and liver lipids in rats. J Nutr Biochem 1999;10(2):96-104. 1999.
  • Kumar MV, Sambaiah K, Lokesh BR. Hypocholesterolemic effect of anhydrous milk fat ghee is mediated by increasing the secretion of biliary lipids. J Nutr Biochem 2000;11(2):69-75. 2000.
  • Nestel PJ, Chronopulos A, Cehun M. Dairy fat in cheese raises LDL cholesterol less than that in butter in mildly hypercholesterolaemic subjects. Eur J Clin Nutr 2005 Sep;59(9):1059-63. 2005.
  • Niranjan TG, Krishnakantha TP. Effect of dietary ghee–the anhydrous milk fat on lymphocytes in rats. Mol Cell Biochem 2001;226(1-2):39-47. 2001.
  • Prattala RS, Groth MV, Oltersdorf US, et al. Use of butter and cheese in 10 European countries: a case of contrasting educational differences. Eur J Public Health 2003 Jun;13(2):124-32. 2003.
  • Shankar SR, Bijlani RL, Baveja T, et al. Effect of partial replacement of visible fat by ghee (clarified butter) on serum lipid profile. Indian J Physiol Pharmacol 2002;46(3):355-60. 2002.
  • Shankar SR, Yadav RK, Ray RB, et al. Serum lipid response to introducing ghee as a partial replacement for mustard oil in the diet of healthy young Indians. Indian J Physiol Pharmacol 2005 Jan;49(1):49-56. 2005.
  • Singh RB, Niaz MA, Ghosh S, et al. Association of trans fatty acids (vegetable ghee) and clarified butter (Indian ghee) intake with higher risk of coronary artery disease in rural and urban populations with low fat consumption. Int J Cardiol 1996 Oct 25;56(3):289-98; discussion 299-300. 1996.
  • Trevisan M, Krogh V, Freudenheim J, et al. Consumption of olive oil, butter, and vegetable oils and coronary heart disease risk factors. The Research Group ATS-RF2 of the Italian National Research Council. JAMA 1990, Vol. 263 No. 5: 688 – 692. 1990.
  • Yellowlees WW. Milk, butter, and heart disease. Lancet 1991 Apr 27;337(8748):1041-2. 1991.
  • Zock PL, Katan MB. Butter, margarine and serum lipoproteins. Atherosclerosis 1997 May;131(1):7-16. 1997.

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http://whfoods.org/genpage.php?tname=newtip&dbid=9&utm_source=rss_reader&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=rss_feed

Indian Cooking; Nutrition Info

Categories: Articles, Asian, Cooking tips, Food Culture, Indian, Nutritional Information, Western Medicine

This is not how I normally like to look at food, through caloric and fat content counting, but it is useful info to look over to get an idea of what you are putting in your body. I eat mostly vegetarian (flexitarian really) and just a friend just moved to the Devon area. This is THE Indian and Pakistani area of Chicago and so I have been eating rich, delicious vegetarian Indian food just about every night. I hope to cook some tasty, nutritious meals in this style soon. Until there here are a few ideas and tips for those who want to explore this “other” Eastern Culture’s food. It is a deep well to explore. Good Indian is some of the most rich and delicious of meals, maybe because of Yin nourishing aspect and fat content. I don’t know about some of the claims below, but worth noting. Feel free to comment. ~ Enjoy

 

Mitch

_____________

Nutrition data (calories, carbohydrates, protein) of homemade Indian food are given. Also the ways to preserve nutrition in Indian cooking are discussed.

Many Indian are vegetarians and they eat vegetables, fruits, whole grains, milk and plant-based proteins. These foods contain essential micro-nutrients and vitamins that produce antioxidants which are good for heart, blood pressure and diabetes.

But Indians, in general, consume less amount of vegetables {says who?}. Also reheating of vegetarian dishes, a common practice among Indians, destroys the micro-nutrients. “Indians, therefore, face heart attacks five years earlier than people in the West,” according to Dr Deepak Natarajan of Apollo hospital, Delhi.

Diets rich in saturated fats and hypertension are the main reason for this.

Indian Cooking & Nutrition

http://www.fatfreekitchen.com/nutrition/indian-foods.html

By 2010, India will carry 60 percent of the world’s heart disease burden, nearly four times more than its share of the global population, according to a study released by Denis Xavier of St. John’s National Academy of Health Sciences in Bangalore in April 2008.

  • Calories in Indian foods and their nutrition depend on the way the foods are cooked.
  • An Indian dish may be very high in calories/energy (mostly from fat) if it is cooked by deep frying, or it may be low in calories or fat if it is stir fried or baked.
  • The rich creamy dishes containing foods covered with lot of spice colored liquid are often very high in fat (mostly saturated fat and trans-fat), while the tandoori dishes are low in fat.

    The research (Feb 2010) conducted by “Which” magazine of Britain found that a single meal of Indian curry in Britain has more fat than the recommendation for the entire day, an average takeaway contained 23.2gm of saturated fat, 3.2gm more than a woman should eat in a day.  Indian takeaway meals are known for their liberal use of ghee and oil, not only in curries but also breads. The researchers found that a naan contained more calories than a chicken tikka masala.

  • Indian often reheat the food, the reheating destroys the nutrients of the food.
  • Indian food is often overcooked, destroying its nutrition.
  • The North Indian dishes are very rich in taste and presentation as compared to South Indian food. The North Indian foods, especially Punjabi foods, are generally higher in calories and fat and lower in nutritional value, than South Indian foods because Punjabi cooking involves tarka or vaghar (frying of spices, onions, etc.) in pure ghee (high in
    saturated fat), butter, oil or trans fats or trans-fatty acids (hydrogenated oils and fats, dalda) that gives unique Indian taste and texture. Read more on trans fats in Indian foods.
  • The tandoori foods of North India are rich in nutrition and natural flavours, but often these are loaded with fats. A new research reported at a conference on “Fats and trans-fatty acids in Indian diet” at the Seventh Health Writers Workshop organised by Health Essayists and Authors League (HEAL) in 2007 found that the trans-fatty acids in French fries is 4.2% – 6.1%, it is 9.5% in bhatura, 7.8% in paratha and 7.6% each in puri and tikkis.

How to Preserve Nutrition in Indian Cooking?

The health benefits of the Indian food depend on the method of cooking.

  1. If a recipe calls for too much cream, yogurt, ghee or oil and crushed cashews, then the dish will be very rich in taste and texture, but with out any nutritional value. The north Indian food, Punjabi food and the foods available in restaurants are cooked (rather over-cooked) like this and they are higher in fat and lower in nutritional value. These foods are generally prepared with deep frying onions, ginger, and spices in lot of oil or ghee. Read more on Indian
    food nutrition and calories
    .
  2. Instead of deep frying, you can stir-fry or saute them in very little vegetable oil. The over-cooked foods lose their nutrition because, in the process, the vitamins and minerals are leached out. You should leave the cooking of a vegetable when it is still crisp.
  3. Never use trans-fat or vanaspati like dalda, rath, etcfor cooking, these are not healthy. Many restaurants and shops use trans-fats for cooking tikkis, bhaturas, parathas, puri (poori) and even sweets and vegetable curries
  4. Do not chop the vegetbles into too small pieces. The vegetable will lose its nutrients if it has more exposed surfaces to the atmosphere.
  5. Always chop the vegetables only when you cook them, do not chop and leave them for a long time.
  6. Do not wash the vegetables like spinach, zucchini, lauki, etc. after chopping to preserve their nutrients.
  7. When you stir-fry, do not overheat the oil.
  8. If you make pakoras, keep the besan batter thick. Deep frying of thin batter pakoras absorb too much oil during frying.
  9. Do not add ghee or oil for making the dough of poori, otherwise the pooris will absorb too much oil during frying.

However, it is possible to have traditional Indian cooking recipes that produce tasty dishes with very less fat and keeping the natural nutrition values and low calories.

on angiogenesis

Categories: Articles, Western Medicine

A few months ago I came across a TED Talk given by Dr William Li, of the Angiogenesis Foundation. He talks about a “diet to starve cancer” by blocking angiogenesis.

Well, what exactly is angiogenesis? Simply put, it is the creation of new blood vessels within the body. This can be a good thing in the case of deep wounds, strokes, or arterial damage; when it goes wrong we see inflammatory conditions like endometriosis, arthritis, psoriasis, pulmonary fibrosis, even cancer and Alzheimer’s. Anti-angiogenic substances block the formation of blood vessels to abnormal tissues so that they die off and are digested by the body. Read on here for more information.

After watching this video, I started to follow the Foundation on Twitter. They regularly post new research on both foods and medicines that are antiangiogenic. I’ve been fascinated by the correlations between their findings and what I have learned so far about Chinese herbal therapy.

One of the most-researched substances right now is curcumin, the active constituent in turmeric. It treats heart disease, kills esophageal cancer cells, helps the body fight tuberculosis, dissolves endometriosis, reduces inflammation in arthritis

Of course, turmeric has a long history of treating these conditions, both in Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine. The three forms used in Chinese medicine- jiang huang, yu jin, and e zhu- are specifically indicated for “accumulations” such as tumors, cysts, abnormal uterine tissue growth and for “static blood” causing pain and obstruction in the heart and chest (Bensky 609-13, 631-2).

Another recent study appears to show that cinnamon extract mediated blood vessel formation to tumors. Cinnamon twig, one of the first medicinals we learned in Herbs 1, is traditionally used to remove obstruction from the network vessels (Bensky 9).

Seaweed, used both as food and medicine, has been used for centuries to treat “phlegm nodules” such as scrofula and goiter. It also appears to prevent the growth of lymphoma.

In the TED talk I mentioned earlier, Dr Li shared a list of foods that are antiangiogenic, among them blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, red grapes, dark chocolate, cherries, and kale. These foods are all traditionally used in Chinese dietary therapy to “strengthen and invigorate” the qi and blood.

Keeping up with research like this is a truly valuable way to maintain our credibility as practitioners. Being able to talk about the antiangiogenic properties of turmeric with a straight face doesn’t just make you seem smart; it provides us with the knowledge that our medicine is valid and real and not just a placebo effect.

A friend of mine recently told me that she has adopted an antiangiogenic diet because breast cancer runs in her family. In a time when carcinogenic factors can be found in our water, soil, and air, carefully choosing what we put into our bodies may be the best defence.

References

Bensky, Dan et al. Materia Medica. 3rd ed. Seattle: Eastland Press, 2004.

all internet sources are cited via hyperlink.

Saffron-4,000+ Years of Medicinal & Culinary Wonder

Categories: Articles

MEDICINAL

Writings of saffron spices being used as a medicine span over 4000 years and cover over 90 conditions that saffron had been used to treat. Saffron is used as a herb in both eastern and western medicine.

Saffron has been used for a long time in eastern medicine. Saffron is used in Ayurvedic medicine to treat conditions such as asthma, coughs, alcoholism, acne, and skin diseases.

Saffron in Unani medicine has been used in the treatment of liver, kidney and urinary infections. Saffron has been used to help cure menstrual disorders in women, to strengthen the heart and also as a coolant for the brain.

Saffron has been used in western medicine. Around 1500 BC saffron is found as having been used for the treatment of kidney disorders. Saffron spice helps to lower the level of blood cholesterol. Compounds within saffron are said to promote anti-viral and anti-bacterial ability of the body. Finally, records dating back to medieval times show saffron was used in anti cancer activities.

These days most people buy saffron for its use as a cooking spice, however it is interesting to see just how many diverse uses this spice has beyond just that of using saffron cooking techniques. It is also of great interest to read about saffron history traversing some 4000 years, many continents and cultures.

 

CULINARY

Saffron is used extensively in European, North African, and Asian cuisines. Its aroma is described by experts as resembling that of honey, with grassy, hay-like, and metallic notes. Saffron’s taste is like that of hay, but with hints of bitter. Saffron also contributes a luminous yellow-orange coloring to items it is soaked with. For these traits saffron is used in baked goods, cheeses, confectioneries, curries, liquors, meat dishes, and soups. Saffron is used in India, Iran, Spain, and other countries as a condiment for rice.

Experienced saffron users often crumble and pre-soak threads for several minutes prior to adding them to their dishes. For example, they may toss threads into water or sherry and leave them to soak for approximately ten minutes. This process extracts the threads’ color and flavor into the liquid phase; powdered saffron does not require this step. Afterward, the soaking solution is added to the hot and cooking dish. This allows even distribution of saffron’s color and flavor throughout a dish, and is important when preparing baked goods or thick sauces.

www.saffronspices.co.uk/saffron-uses

www.royalsaffron.com/index.htm

Saffron is awesome!!! 😀

Is there a safe limit to the amount of hot spices I should consume? (Western view)

Categories: Articles, Western Medicine

Is there a safe limit to the amount of hot spices I should consume?

Hot spices like tabasco sauce, red chili pepper, and black pepper are all seasonings used to “spice up” food, but they don’t necessarily have anything in common from a nutritional or chemistry standpoint. Tabasco(TM) sauce, for example, is usually made from a special variety of chili pepper called tabasco pepper, aged together with vinegar and salt. Chili peppers belong to the Solanaceae family of plants and have features in common with tomatoes, potatoes, and eggplant. A key component of chili peppers is capsaicin-the component that brings the “fire” to these pungent foods. Black pepper belongs to a completely different family of plants called Piperaceae and features a different pungent component called piperine.

So you can see that in the case of these two types of spices, you aren’t getting the same compounds even though both spices make your food “hot.” From a health standpoint, it’s worth thinking about these hot spices as different when it comes to nutrients and other health-related properties. For example, a person with sensitivity to the nightshade (Solanaceae) vegetables will most likely want to avoid hot peppers since they belong to this food family. But this same person may do just fine with black pepper, which belongs to a different family of foods.

There are some health conditions in which hot spices are usually best avoided. Those conditions include heartburn (gastroesophageal reflux disorder, or GERD) and irritable bowel syndrome. There is some research to suggest that daily consumption of hot peppers can trigger GERD but that remains an area of controversy. We’ve seen one study showing increased risk of stomach cancer following consumption of 9-25 jalapeno peppers per day over a period of years, but whether it was the peppers alone or the peppers in combination with other factors could not be conclusively determined by the study. That’s a fairly high dose of jalapeno peppers, however, and it’s important to remember that in much lower amounts (like the amounts ordinarily used to season a recipe), hot peppers tend to show health benefits rather than health risks.

We’ve seen animal research showing health benefits to many of the hot spices. The capsaicin found in chili and cayenne peppers, for example, has been shown to help increase circulation in the digestive system, skin, and brain and may sometimes help to lower blood fat levels in persons who are eating a high-fat diet.

It’s important to choose high-quality hot spices when you are incorporating them into your diet. Poor-quality spices can be contaminated with aflatoxins and other unwanted compounds when not carefully produced, processed, and stored. Synthetic dyes may also be used in the making of some low-quality cayenne or chili powders. A great step that can help prevent all of the above problems is to purchase certified organic spices and make sure that you store them well. You’ll find specific storage tips for black pepper, cayenne pepper, and dried chili pepper on our website in the WHFoods List section (http://whfoods.org/foodstoc.php).

Provided that you do not have any of the health problems listed above, select high-quality spices, store them properly, and do not push your intake to the level of a dozen or more hot peppers per day, we recommend following your own experience when it comes to selecting the best level of hot spices for you. Ask yourself whether your food leaves you feeling satiated and energized, or whether it seems to aggravate your sense of well-being. Ask whether you are having so many hot spices that you cannot appreciate other styles of food or whether your taste buds have lost their sensitivity to other subtle flavors. If you find yourself needing higher and higher levels of spice to satisfy your taste buds, you are likely to be experiencing a process called desensitization. Studies on the capsaicin found in chili peppers have shown that over time this substance can cause certain nerves in the body to become desensitized. Becoming desensitized means adjusting to the current level of spice and needing more spice to achieve the previous spicy sensations. If your style of eating is becoming more narrow due to your use of hot spices, you may want to make adjustments in the level of spice you use and see if that step helps open the door to enjoyment of more foods.

References

* Archer VE, Jones DW. Capsaicin pepper, cancer and ethnicity. Med Hypotheses 2002 Oct;59(4):450-7. 2002.
* Bajad S, Bedi KL, Singla AK, et al. Antidiarrhoeal activity of piperine in mice. Planta Med 2001 Apr;67(3):284-7. 2001.
* Dhuley JN, Raman PH, Mujumdar AM, et al. Inhibition of lipid peroxidation by piperine during experimental inflammation in rats. Indian J Exp Biol 1993 May;31(5):443-5. 1993.
* Kumar S, Singhal V, Roshan R, et al. Piperine inhibits TNF-alpha induced adhesion of neutrophils to endothelial monolayer through suppression of NF-kappaB and IkappaB kinase activation. Eur J Pharmacol 2007 Dec 1;575(1-3):177-86. 2007.
* Lopez-Carrillo L, Lopez-Cervantes M, Robles-Diaz G, et al. Capsaicin consumption, Helicobacter pylori positivity and gastric cancer in Mexico. Int J Cancer 2003 Aug 20;106(2):277-82. 2003.
* Milke P, Diaz A, Valdovinos MA, et al. Gastroesophageal reflux in healthy subjects induced by two different species of chili (Capsicum annum). Digestive diseases (Basel, Switzerland) 2006;24 (1-2): 184—8. 2006.
* Mujumdar AM, Dhuley JN, Deshmukh VK, et al. Anti-inflammatory activity of piperine. Jpn J Med Sci Biol 1990 Jun;43(3):95-100 1990. PMID:16380.

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Selenium

Categories: Articles, Nutritional Information

Dietary Supplement Fact Sheet: Selenium
Office of Dietary Supplements  NIH Clinical Center • National Institutes of Health
Table of Contents

What is selenium?
What foods provide selenium?
What is the recommended dietary intake for selenium?
When can selenium deficiency occur?
Who may need supplemental selenium?
What are some current issues and controversies about selenium?
What is the health risk of too much selenium?
Selecting a healthful diet
References
Reviewers

What is selenium?
Selenium is a trace mineral that is essential to good health but required only in small amounts [1,2]. Selenium is incorporated into proteins to make selenoproteins, which are important antioxidant enzymes. The antioxidant properties of selenoproteins help prevent cellular damage from free radicals. Free radicals are natural by-products of oxygen metabolism that may contribute to the development of chronic diseases such as cancer and heart disease [2,3]. Other selenoproteins help regulate thyroid function and play a role in the immune system [4-7].

What foods provide selenium?
Plant foods are the major dietary sources of selenium in most countries throughout the world. The content of selenium in food depends on the selenium content of the soil where plants are grown or animals are raised. For example, researchers know that soils in the high plains of northern Nebraska and the Dakotas have very high levels of selenium. People living in those regions generally have the highest selenium intakes in the United States (U.S.) [8]. In the U.S., food distribution patterns across the country help prevent people living in low-selenium geographic areas from having low dietary selenium intakes. Soils in some parts of China and Russia have very low amounts of selenium. Selenium deficiency is often reported in those regions because most food in those areas is grown and eaten locally.

Selenium also can be found in some meats and seafood. Animals that eat grains or plants that were grown in selenium-rich soil have higher levels of selenium in their muscle. In the U.S., meats and bread are common sources of dietary selenium [9,10]. Some nuts are also sources of selenium.

Selenium content of foods can vary. For example, Brazil nuts may contain as much as 544 micrograms of selenium per ounce. They also may contain far less selenium. It is wise to eat Brazil nuts only occasionally because of their unusually high intake of selenium. Selected food sources of selenium are provided in Table 1 [11].

Table 1: Selected food sources of selenium [11]
Food Micrograms
(μg) Percent
DV*
Brazil nuts, dried, unblanched, 1 ounce 544 780
Tuna, light, canned in oil, drained, 3 ounces 63 95
Beef, cooked, 3½ ounces 35 50
Spaghetti w/ meat sauce, frozen entrée, 1 serving 34 50
Cod, cooked, 3 ounces 32 45
Turkey, light meat, roasted, 3½ ounces 32 45
Beef chuck roast, lean only, roasted, 3 ounces 23 35
Chicken Breast, meat only, roasted, 3½ ounces 20 30
Noodles, enriched, boiled, 1/2 cup 17 25
Macaroni, elbow, enriched, boiled, 1/2 cup 15 20
Egg, whole, 1 medium 14 20
Cottage cheese, low fat 2%, 1/2 cup 12 15
Oatmeal, instant, fortified, cooked, 1 cup 12 15
Rice, white, enriched, long grain, cooked, 1/2 cup 12 15
Rice, brown, long-grained, cooked, 1/2 cup 10 15
Bread, enriched, whole wheat, commercially prepared, 1 slice 10 15
Walnuts, black, dried, 1 ounce 5 8
Bread, enriched, white, commercially prepared, 1 slice 4 6
Cheddar cheese, 1 ounce 4 6

*DV = Daily Value. DVs are reference numbers developed by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to help consumers determine if a food contains a lot or a little of a specific nutrient. The DV for selenium is 70 micrograms (ug). Most food labels do not list a food’s selenium content. The percent DV (%DV) listed on the table indicates the percentage of the DV provided in one serving. A food providing 5% of the DV or less is a low source while a food that provides 10-19% of the DV is a good source. A food that provides 20% or more of the DV is high in that nutrient. It is important to remember that foods that provide lower percentages of the DV also contribute to a healthful diet. For foods not listed in this table, please refer to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Nutrient Database Web site: http://www.nal.usda.gov/fnic/cgi-bin/nut_search.pl.

What is the recommended dietary intake for selenium?
Recommendations for selenium are provided in the Dietary Reference Intakes developed by the Institute of Medicine [12]. Dietary Reference Intakes (DRIs) is the general term for a set of reference values used for planning and assessing nutrient intake for healthy people. Three important types of reference values included in the DRIs are Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDA), Adequate Intakes (AI), and Tolerable Upper Intake Levels (UL). The RDA recommends the average daily dietary intake level that is sufficient to meet the nutrient requirements of nearly all (97-98%) healthy individuals in each age and gender group [12]. An AI is set when there is insufficient scientific data available to establish a RDA. AIs meet or exceed the amount needed to maintain a nutritional state of adequacy in nearly all members of a specific age and gender group. The UL, on the other hand, is the maximum daily intake unlikely to result in adverse health effects [12]. Table 2 lists the RDAs for selenium, in micrograms (μg) per day, for children and adults.

Table 2: Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDA) for selenium for children and adults [12]
Age
(years) Males and Females
(μg/day) Pregnancy
(μg/day) Lactation
(μg/day)
1-3 y 20 N/A N/A
4-8 y 30 N/A N/A
9-13 y 40 N/A N/A
14-18 y 55 60 70
19 y + 55 60 70

There is insufficient information on selenium to establish a RDA for infants. An Adequate Intake (AI) has been established that is based on the amount of selenium consumed by healthy infants who are fed breast milk [12]. Table 3 lists the AIs for selenium, in micrograms (μg) per day, for infants.

Table 2: Adequate Intake for selenium for infants [12]
Age
(months) Males and Females
(μg/day)
0-6 months 15
7-12 months 20

Results of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES III-1988-94) indicated that diets of most Americans provide recommended amounts of selenium [13]. The INTERMAP study examined nutrient intakes of almost 5,000 middle-aged men and women in four countries in the late 1990s, including the U.S. The primary aim of the study was to evaluate the effect of dietary micronutrients on blood pressure. Each study participant completed four, 24-hour dietary recalls, during which they were asked to record everything consumed (food, beverages, and dietary supplements) over the previous 24 hours. Selenium intake was lowest among residents of China, the country with the highest known rate of selenium deficiency. Mean dietary intake of selenium of U.S. participants was 153 μg for men and 109 μg for women. Both values exceed the recommended selenium intake for adults and are further evidence of adequate selenium intakes in the U.S. [14].

When can selenium deficiency occur?
Human selenium deficiency is rare in the U.S. but is seen in other countries, most notably China, where soil concentration of selenium is low [15]. There is evidence that selenium deficiency may contribute to development of a form of heart disease, hypothyroidism, and a weakened immune system [16,17]. There is also evidence that selenium deficiency does not usually cause illness by itself. Rather, it can make the body more susceptible to illnesses caused by other nutritional, biochemical or infectious stresses [18].

# Three specific diseases have been associated with selenium deficiency:Keshan Disease, which results in an enlarged heart and poor heart function, occurs in selenium deficient children.
# Kashin-Beck Disease, which results in osteoarthropathy
# Myxedematous Endemic Cretinism, which results in mental retardation

Keshan disease was first described in the early 1930s in China, and is still seen in large areas of the Chinese countryside with selenium poor soil [18]. Dietary intake in these areas is less than 19 micrograms per day for men and less than 13 micrograms per day for women, significantly lower than the current RDA for selenium [12]. Researchers believe that selenium deficient people infected with a specific virus are most likely to develop Keshan disease [18,19].

Selenium deficiency has also been seen in people who rely on total parenteral nutrition (TPN) as their sole source of nutrition [20,21]. TPN is a method of feeding nutrients through an intravenous (IV) line to people whose digestive systems do not function. Forms of nutrients that do not require digestion are dissolved in liquid and infused through the IV line. It is important for TPN solutions to provide selenium in order to prevent a deficiency [22]. Physicians can monitor the selenium status of individuals receiving TPN to make sure they are receiving adequate amounts.

Severe gastrointestinal disorders may decrease the absorption of selenium, resulting in selenium depletion or deficiency [23]. Gastrointestinal problems that impair selenium absorption usually affect absorption of other nutrients as well, and require routine monitoring of nutritional status so that appropriate medical and nutritional treatment can be provided.

Who may need supplemental selenium?
In the U.S., most cases of selenium depletion or deficiency are associated with severe gastrointestinal problems, such as Crohn’s disease, or with surgical removal of part of the stomach. These and other gastrointestinal disorders can impair selenium absorption [24-26]. People with acute severe illness who develop inflammation and widespread infection often have decreased levels of selenium in their blood [27]. Physicians will evaluate individuals who have gastrointestinal disease or severe infection for depleted blood levels of selenium to determine the need for supplementation.

People with iodine deficiency may also benefit from selenium supplementation. Iodine deficiency is rare in the U.S., but is still common in developing countries where access to iodine is limited [28]. Researchers believe that selenium deficiency may worsen the effects of iodine deficiency on thyroid function, and that adequate selenium nutritional status may help protect against some of the neurological effects of iodine deficiency [6,7]. Researchers involved in the Supplementation en Vitamines et Mineraux AntioXydants (SU.VI.MAX) study in France, which was designed to assess the effect of vitamin and mineral supplements on chronic disease risk, evaluated the relationship between goiter and selenium in a subset of this research population. Their findings suggest that selenium supplements may be protective against goiter, which refers to enlargement of the thyroid gland [29].

As noted above, selenium supplementation during TPN administration is now routine [21,22]. While specific medical problems such as those described above indicate a need for selenium supplementation, evidence is lacking for recommending selenium supplements for healthy children and adults.

Selenium supplements
Selenium occurs in staple foods such as corn, wheat, and soybean as selenomethionine, the organic selenium analogue of the amino acid methionine [30,31]. Selenomethionine can be incorporated into body proteins in place of methionine, and serves as a vehicle for selenium storage in organs and tissues. Selenium supplements may also contain sodium selenite and sodium selenate, two inorganic forms of selenium. Selenomethionine is generally considered to be the best absorbed and utilized form of selenium.

Selenium is also available in ‘high selenium yeasts’, which may contain as much as 1,000 to 2,000 micrograms of selenium per gram [30]. Most of the selenium in these yeasts is in the form of selenomethionine. This form of selenium was used in the large scale cancer prevention trial in 1983, which demonstrated that taking a daily supplement containing 200 micrograms of selenium per day could lower the risk of developing prostate, lung, and colorectal cancer [32]. However, some yeasts may contain inorganic forms of selenium, which are not utilized as well as selenomethionine.

A study conducted in 1995 suggested that the organic forms of selenium increased blood selenium concentration to a greater extent than inorganic forms. However, it did not significantly improve the activity of the selenium-dependent enzyme, glutathione peroxidase [33]. Researchers are continuing to examine the effects of different chemical forms of selenium, but the organic form currently appears to be the best choice.

What are some current issues and controversies about selenium?
Selenium and cancer
Observational studies indicate that death from cancer, including lung, colorectal, and prostate cancers, is lower among people with higher blood levels or intake of selenium [34-40]. In addition, the incidence of nonmelanoma skin cancer is significantly higher in areas of the United States with low soil selenium content [37]. The effect of selenium supplementation on the recurrence of different types of skin cancers was studied in seven dermatology clinics in the U.S. from 1983 through the early 1990s. Taking a daily supplement containing 200 μg of selenium did not affect recurrence of skin cancer, but significantly reduced the occurrence and death from total cancers. The incidence of prostate cancer, colorectal cancer, and lung cancer was notably lower in the group given selenium supplements [41].

Research suggests that selenium affects cancer risk in two ways. As an anti-oxidant, selenium can help protect the body from damaging effects of free radicals. Selenium may also prevent or slow tumor growth. Certain breakdown products of selenium are believed to prevent tumor growth by enhancing immune cell activity and suppressing development of blood vessels to the tumor [42].

However, not all studies have shown a relationship between selenium status and cancer. In 1982, over 60,000 participants of the Nurse’s Health Study with no history of cancer submitted toenail clippings for selenium analysis. Toenails are thought to reflect selenium status over the previous year. After three and a half years of data collection, researchers compared toenail selenium levels of nurses with and without cancer. Those nurses with higher levels of selenium in their toenails did not have a reduced risk of cancer [43].

Two long-term studies, the SU.VI.MAX study in France and the Selenium and Vitamin E Cancer Prevention Trial (SELECT) in the United States and Canada, investigated whether selenium combined with at least one other dietary supplement could reduce the risk of prostate cancer in men.

The SU.VI.MAX study examined the effects of a supplement package containing moderate doses of vitamins E and C, beta-carotene, zinc, and selenium (100 μg/day) versus placebo on the risk of chronic diseases such as cancer and cardiovascular disease. Among the 5,141 men enrolled, those randomized to the supplements who began the study with a normal (<3 ng/ml) PSA (prostate specific antigen) level at baseline had their risk of prostate cancer reduced by half [45]. Among the men whose PSA levels were elevated at baseline, however, use of the supplements was associated with an increased incidence of prostate cancer of borderline statistical significance compared to placebo.

The Selenium and Vitamin E Cancer Prevention Trial (SELECT) was a very large randomized clinical trial begun in 2001 specifically designed to determine whether 7-12 years of daily supplementation with selenium (200 μg), with or without synthetic vitamin E (400 IU), reduces the number of new prostate cancers in healthy men (PSA ≤4 ng/ml at baseline) [46-47]. The trial, which had enrolled >35,000 men, was discontinued in October 2008 when an analysis found that the supplements, taken alone or together for an average of 5.5 years, did not prevent prostate cancer. Study staff members will continue to monitor participants’ health for an additional 3 years.

Selenium and heart disease
Some population surveys have suggested an association between lower antioxidant intake and a greater incidence of heart disease [47]. Evidence also suggests that oxidative stress from free radicals, which are natural by-products of oxygen metabolism, may promote heart disease [48-50]. For example, it is the oxidized form of low-density lipoproteins (LDL, often called “bad” cholesterol) that promotes plaque build-up in coronary arteries [49]. Selenium is one of a group of antioxidants that may help limit the oxidation of LDL cholesterol and thereby help to prevent coronary artery disease [48-50]. Currently there is insufficient evidence available to recommend selenium supplements for the prevention of coronary heart disease.

Selenium and arthritis
Surveys indicate that individuals with rheumatoid arthritis, a chronic disease that causes pain, stiffness, swelling, and loss of function in joints, have reduced selenium levels in their blood [51-52]. In addition, some individuals with arthritis have a low selenium intake [53].

The body’s immune system naturally makes free radicals that can help destroy invading organisms and damaged tissue, but that can also harm healthy tissue [54]. Selenium, as an antioxidant, may help to relieve symptoms of arthritis by controlling levels of free radicals [55]. Current findings are considered preliminary, and further research is needed before selenium supplements can be recommended for individuals with arthritis.

Selenium and HIV
HIV/AIDS malabsorption can deplete levels of many nutrients, including selenium. Selenium deficiency is associated with decreased immune cell counts, increased disease progression, and high risk of death in the HIV/AIDS population [56,57]. HIV/AIDS gradually destroys the immune system, and oxidative stress may contribute to further damage of immune cells. Antioxidant nutrients such as selenium help protect cells from oxidative stress, thus potentially slowing progression of the disease [58]. Selenium also may be needed for the replication of the HIV virus, which could further deplete levels of selenium [59].

An examination of 125 HIV-positive men and women linked selenium deficiency with a higher rate of death from HIV [60]. In a small study of 24 children with HIV who were observed for five years, those with low selenium levels died at a younger age, which may indicate faster disease progression [61]. Results of research studies have led experts to suggest that selenium status may be a significant predictor of survival for those infected with HIV [62].

Researchers continue to investigate the relationship between selenium and HIV/AIDS, including the effect of selenium levels on disease progression and mortality. There is insufficient evidence to routinely recommend selenium supplements for individuals with HIV/AIDS, but physicians may prescribe such supplements as part of an overall treatment plan. It is also important for HIV-positive individuals to consume recommended amounts of selenium in their diet.

What is the health risk of too much selenium?
High blood levels of selenium (greater than 100 μg/dL) can result in a condition called selenosis [63]. Symptoms of selenosis include gastrointestinal upsets, hair loss, white blotchy nails, garlic breath odor, fatigue, irritability, and mild nerve damage [2].

Selenium toxicity is rare in the U.S. The few reported cases have been associated with industrial accidents and a manufacturing error that led to an excessively high dose of selenium in a supplement [64,65]. The Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences has set a tolerable upper intake level (UL) for selenium at 400 micrograms per day for adults to prevent the risk of developing selenosis [12]. Table 4 lists ULs for selenium, in micrograms per day, for infants, children, and adults.

Table 4: Tolerable Upper Intake Levels for selenium for infants, children, and adults [12]
Age Males and Females
(μg/day)
0 – 6 months 45
7 – 12 months 60
1-3 y 90
4-8 y 150
9-13 y 280
14-18 y 400
19 y + 400

Selecting a healthful diet
The 2000 Dietary Guidelines for Americans states, “Different foods contain different nutrients and other healthful substances. No single food can supply all the nutrients in the amounts you need” [66]. For more information about building a healthful diet, refer to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans [66] (http://www.cnpp.usda.gov/Publications/DietaryGuidelines/2000/2000DGProfessionalBooklet.pdf) and the Food Guide Pyramid [67] (http://www.nal.usda.gov/fnic/Fpyr/pyramid.html).

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Posted Date:
12/5/2003
Updated:
4/28/2009 10:34 AM

References

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Disclaimer

Reasonable care has been taken in preparing this document and the information provided herein is believed to be accurate. However, this information is not intended to constitute an “authoritative statement” under Food and Drug Administration rules and regulations.

About ODS

The mission of the Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS) is to strengthen knowledge and understanding of dietary supplements by evaluating scientific information, stimulating and supporting research, disseminating research results, and educating the public to foster an enhanced quality of life and health for the U.S. population.

General Safety Advisory

Health professionals and consumers need credible information to make thoughtful decisions about eating a healthful diet and using vitamin and mineral supplements. To help guide those decisions, registered dietitians at the NIH Clinical Center developed a series of Fact Sheets in conjunction with ODS. These Fact Sheets provide responsible information about the role of vitamins and minerals in health and disease. Each Fact Sheet in this series received extensive review by recognized experts from the academic and research communities.

The information is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. It is important to seek the advice of a physician about any medical condition or symptom. It is also important to seek the advice of a physician, registered dietitian, pharmacist, or other qualified health professional about the appropriateness of taking dietary supplements and their potential interactions with medications.

Reviewers

The Clinical Nutrition Service and the ODS thank the expert scientific reviewers for their role in ensuring the scientific accuracy of the information discussed in these fact sheets, along with the Nutrition Education Subcommittee of the NIH, the U.S. Department of Agriculture Dietary Guidance Working Group, and the Department of Health and Human Services Nutrition Policy Board Committee on Dietary Guidance. Reviewers:
Jed Fahey, M.S., Johns Hopkins School of Medicine
Marianna Fordyce-Baum, Ph.D., University of Miami School of Medicine
Orville Levander, Ph.D., USDA, Agricultural Research Service, Beltsville, Maryland
Keith West, Dr.P.H., Johns Hopkins University School of Science and Public Health
Sedigheh Yamini, Ph.D., USDA, Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion

http://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/selenium.asp

The Magic of Yerba Mate

Categories: Articles

Walk anywhere in Argentina and you can’t help but notice stylish men and women toting, not Starbucks lattes or portable coffee mugs, but instead, fist-size gourds, piled high with loose tea, topped with hot water and served, filtered, with a metal straw. Yerba mate – it’s thick and sludge-like, bitter-tasting and quite frankly, in my first-timer opinion, not-so-delicious. Yet, it’s one of the most healthful, natural beverages on earth.

Very similar to coffee and tea, Yerba Mate has been used as a beverage since the time of the ancient Indians of Brazil and Paraguay and is considered a national drink in several South American countries. Consumed in moderation, it is widely considered a healthy alternative to caffeine and is considered safe by the FDA. However, unlike sugary energy drinks, tea or coffee, it offers you long-lasting energy, focus and alertness without the dreaded side-effects of caffeine.

Some benefits of Yerba Mate:

Helps Prevent Cancer
Mate contains polyphenols, powerful antioxidants that are considered to have anti-cancer effects in humans by strengthening our immune systems while preventing the damage done by free-radicals. In lab tests, the herb and its components protect our DNA from damage by reducing oxidative stress on heart and liver cells and have been shown to kill human liver cancer cells.

Boosts Energy
Great for those who love the energy-boosting effects of caffeine but don’t love the flip side – shakes, mood swings and eventual crash. Mate helps to eliminate fatigue, while stimulating mental and physical activity with little or no side-effects compared to caffeine.

Stimulates Digestion
That bitter taste does serve a greater a purpose. Users who drink mate after meals report less digestive problems.

Packed with Vitamins
The herb contains vitamins A, C, E, B1, B2, Niacin, B5 and complex minerals like Selenium, Calcium, Magnesium, Zinc, Phosphorus, Potassium, Magnesium, and Iron. Mate also contains Carotene, Fatty Acids, Flavonols, Polyphenols (like those found in red wine), Trace Minerals, 80% more antioxidants than green tea, and 15 Amino Acids.

Fights Disease
Yerba Mate also contains phytochemicals that have been found to stimulate the immune system and protect the body against disease. Yerba Mate health benefits have been documented by research such as being anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, increases fat burning, aids in weight loss, and can help the brain with mental clarity.

http://www.care2.com/greenliving/the-magic-of-yerba-mate.html

Beans: Protein-Rich Superfoods

Categories: Articles, Western Medicine

Beans: Protein-Rich Superfoods
High in fiber and antioxidants, beans aren’t just good for the waistline, they may aid in disease prevention, too.
By Jenny Stamos Kovacs

More than just a meat substitute, beans are so nutritious that the latest dietary guidelines recommend we triple our current intake from 1 to 3 cups per week. What makes beans so good for us? Here’s what the experts have to say:

Chronic conditions such as cancer, diabetes, and heart disease all have something in common. Being overweight increases your chances of developing them and makes your prognosis worse if you do, says Mark Brick, PhD — which means that trimming your waistline does more for you than make your pants look better. Brick, a professor in the department of soil and crop sciences at Colorado State University, is investigating the ability of different bean varieties to prevent cancer and diabetes.

Beans are comparable to meat when it comes to calories, says Dawn Jackson Blatner, RD, a registered dietitian at Northwestern Memorial Hospital’s Wellness Institute in Chicago and a spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association. But they really shine in terms of fiber and water content, two ingredients that make you feel fuller, faster. Adding beans to your diet helps cut calories without feeling deprived.

Our diets tend to be seriously skimpy when it comes to fiber (the average American consumes just 15 grams daily), to the detriment of both our hearts and our waistlines. One cup of cooked beans (or two-thirds of a can) provides about 12 grams of fiber — nearly half the recommended daily dose of 21 to 25 grams per day for adult women (30 to 38 grams for adult men). Meat, on the other hand, contains no fiber at all.

This difference in fiber content means that meat is digested fairly quickly, Brick says, whereas beans are digested slowly, keeping you satisfied longer. Plus, beans are low in sugar, which prevents insulin in the bloodstream from spiking and causing hunger. When you substitute beans for meat in your diet, you get the added bonus of a decrease in saturated fat, says Blatner.

Still not convinced? In a recent study, bean eaters weighed, on average, 7 pounds less and had slimmer waists than their bean-avoiding counterparts — yet they consumed 199 calories more per day if they were adults and an incredible 335 calories more if they were teenagers.

Beans have something else that meat lacks, Blatner says: phytochemicals, compounds found only in plants (phyto is Greek for “plant”). Beans are high in antioxidants, a class of phytochemicals that incapacitate cell-damaging free radicals in the body, says Brick. (Free radicals have been implicated in everything from cancer and aging to neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.)

In a U.S. Department of Agriculture study, researchers measured the antioxidant capacities of more than 100 common foods. Three types of beans made the top four: small red beans, red kidney beans, and pinto beans. And three others — black beans, navy beans, and black-eyed peas — achieved top-40 status.

The bottom line? Beans are pretty much the perfect food, Brick says.

WebMD the Magazine – FeatureReviewed by Kathleen M. Zelman, MPH, RD, LD

http://www.webmd.com/diet/features/beans-protein-rich-superfoods